Administration of N-(phosphonacetyl)-l-aspartic acid (PALA) is ineffective in treating mice bearing the parent P388 leukemia line; however, such treatment becomes highly effective when a cell line, P388/ACIA, derived from P388/0 was selected for resistance to another antimetabolite, acivicin. The observed phenomenon of collateral sensitivity is associated with a significantly higher inhibition of the specific activity of carbamyl phosphate synthetase II, pyrimidine nucleoside kinases, adenine phosphoribosyl transferase, and hypoxanthine phosphoribosyl transferase in the PALA-sensitive line, P388/ACIA. Twenty-four hr following administration of PALA, 200 mg/kg, the 10% lethal dose i.p. to tumor-bearing mice, the intracellular concentrations of uridine triphosphate and cytidine triphosphate were decreased in the P388/ACIA, PALA-sensitive cells, whereas no significant change in the corresponding nucleotide pool sizes was observed in P388/0, PALA-resistant line. Moreover, the purine nucleotide pool demonstrated a significant expansion of adenosine triphosphate and guanosine triphosphate only in the P388/ACIA line following a similar treatment with PALA. It is proposed that the imbalance in the generation of pyrimidine and purine nucleoside triphosphate pools may explain the observed collateral sensitivity to PALA in P388/ACIA leukemia line.